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Highlights: Kamal Haasan says his new party Makkal Needhi Maiam isn’t Left or Right, it’s at the Centre

Kamal Haasan on Wednesday launched his new political party which has been named Makkal Needhi Maiam, in Madurai. Here are the highlights.

india Updated: Feb 21, 2018 22:01 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Chennai, Hindustan Times
Kamal Haasan,Makkal Needhi Maiam,Live updates
Kamal Haasan launches his party in Madurai. (Picture courtesy: Makkal Needhi Maiam official Twitter account )

Tamil actor Kamal Haasan launched his own political party -- named Makkal Needhi Maiam -- on Wednesday, kicking off the day with a state-wide tour in Tamil Nadu.

He also unfurled his party’s flag, which has six hands - three in red and three in white - joined together around a star on a white background.

Haasan arrived in Madurai from Rameswaram after visiting former president APJ Abdul Kalam’s house where he sought blessings from the late leader’s brother.

Here are the highlights:

9:20pm: Haasan ends his speech with “Long live Tamil Nadu”.

9:16pm: It’s for my daughters to decide if they want to join politics. It’s up to them: Haasan answers question about his 2 daughters joining politics.

9:15pm: I just wanted to meet Kalam’s family, which is in Rameshwaram: Haasan explains why he visited former president APJ Abdul Kalam’s residence earlier on Wednesday.

9:10pm: Kamal Haasan says Tamil language will grow if we read, speak and write. “It doesn’t mean you hate other languages.” 

9:07pm: How can I eradicate corruption alone. We have to join hands to finish corruption: Haasan

9:04pm: Hinting at late Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa, Haasan says no chief minister is life-long. “The battle will be handed over to the next runner,” he says, adding that he will take care of Tamil people till he is here.

We have created a structure that will take the party forward for at least 3-4 generations, he says.

9:02pm: Here onwards when I speak, I will take questions from the public. If I don’t know the answers, I will write a letter and respond to them: Haasan

9:01pm: The actor announces his party has been registered with the Election Commission.

9pm: Whatever life is left, it’s for you: Haasan on being criticised for launching a party at the age of 69

8:59pm: I’m not here to run the state for next 40 years. I’m here to search for the future generation that will lead the state: Haasan

8:58pm: People used to ask me if I’m Left or Right. That’s why I’ve kept the party’s name as ‘Centre’. We are in the centre, Haasan says in the Madurai rally.

“People ask me what is this ‘Maiam?’, and if I am Left or Right? That is why I kept the name ‘Maiam’, which means centre.”

8:57pm: If you look at the logo, you can see South India’s map. Hands represent the states. The star at the centre represents people like you. Justice for people should be at the centre: Haasan explains the symbolism in his party’s flag.

8:55pm: On his stand on Cauvery water dispute, Kamal Haasan says dialogue is important.

8:52pm: If the party is doing something wrong, please tell us. We will listen: Haasan 

8:50pm: “People ask about my ideology, here it is -- good quality education must reach all, caste and religious games played on us must be stopped. Corruption has to be eradicated,” says Haasan.

“I don’t have money to give voters. I will spend it on welfare.” 

8:48pm: Haasan tells the cheering crowd: “I’m not a leader, I’m just a party worker.”

8:45pm: Today is the day of reckoning. I have to speak, and tomorrow, I will have to act: TV reports quote Haasan who also recounts Chandrababu Naidu wishing him luck before his party’s launch.

8:40pm: There was interference when I started doing good things... we have been doing our job. We will bring out the corruption in the government: Kamal Haasan

8:35pm: The people of Delhi started this trend to vote for new, honest political parties. Now it’s the chance of Tamil Nadu to break Delhi’s record: Kejriwal concludes his speech, wishing Haasan luck in his political journey.

“If you want schools, hospitals, roads and electricity; If you want an honest government, vote for Kamal Haasan!”

8:32pm: There is no dearth of money in the govt. There is only dearth of intention. If you have an honest govt, anything is possible: Kejriwal addresses the crowd in Madurai.

“People of Tamil Nadu are ready to throw out DMK and AIADMK, and bring Kamal Haasan to power.” 

8:30pm: Media reports quote AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal as saying Kamal Haasan’s party will be a great political alternative in Tamil Nadu and that the actor is now a “real life hero”.

8:20pm: Actror Sripriya is inducted into the party’s high-level committee.

8:15pm: Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan congratulates Kamal Haasan via a pre-recorded message after the Tamil actor launches his own party.

8pm: Makkal Needhi Maiam can be loosely translated as ‘People’s Justice Centre’.

7:50pm: The presenter says Kamal Haasan has requested no shawls or bouquets should be given to him on the stage. Instead, donate to the needy: TV reports

7:45pm: Haasan hugs all members invited on the stage for felicitation of the party.

Read | How Kamal Haasan went from being a movie star to heading his political party Makkal Needhi Maiam

7:41pm: Haasan says he is like a grain of rice boiled from the heart of Tamil people, according to TV reports

“I am not your leader, I am your tool.. this gathering is full of leaders,” he says.

7:40pm: You must be an example to the present day political system and I will be seeking your suggestion rather than giving you speeches: Kamal Haasan

Citing a Tamil proverb of ‘Oru Soru,’ which means a small example of a whole lot, he said the launch was just the first step for ‘makkal atchi,’ (people’s rule).

7:38pm: Here’s a look at Makkal Needhi Maiam flag:

7:36pm: The Tamil superstar invites Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and AAP leader Somnath Bharti on the stage.

7:35pm: Haasan says his party is made for everyone. “You need to be an example for everyone.” 

7:31pm: Makkal Needhi Maiam is the name of Kamal Haasan’s party

7:30pm: Kamal Haasan addresses a huge rally in Madurai to launch his political party.

6pm:

4pm: A giant LED screen erected at the venue, where actor Kamal Haasan is scheduled to launch his political party here, collapses due to heavy winds, PTI quotes police as saying. No one is injured.

3pm: On his way to Madurai, Kamal Haasan tells supporers, “Like the lamp in your homes, you should protect me.”

1:40pm: Senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily says Haasan’s party in Tamil Nadu does not have much political space to grow. “I think the prospects for Kamal Haasan’s party is very marginal. I don’t think there is much space left by these two dominant regional forces”.

1:30pm:

1:15pm: Haasan earlier visited several senior political leaders and well-wishers from various political parties, including the CPI(M), in the run-up to his entry into politics. He also called on political personalities such as DMDK leader Vijayakanth, DMK chief M Karunanidhi and Naam Tamilar Katchi president Seeman to seek their blessings.

11:45am: Haasan leaves for Paramakudi, his birthplace. From there, he will proceed to Madurai.

11:30am: “So far, I lived in the hearts of Tamil fans, now I want to live in their homes. There are more responsibilities in politics than cinema,” Haasan says.

11:20am: “Last night, I spoke with Chandra Babu Naidu and he explained how more than ideals, it is important to understand what people need and put a list of things that you can do for them. What he said struck a chord with me. He is an inspiration for me,” the actor says.

11:00am: “Kalam came from a humble background and I went there intentionally. There was no political symbolism there. It was a great feeling. I wanted to visit his school as well but they stopped me. They, however, cannot stop me from learning lessons. I will be speaking about my manifesto and party politics at length there (in Madurai),” says Haasan.

10:30am: Madurai is all decked up to receive the superstar and his fans have descended upon the town from different parts of the state.

10:20am: Haasan will drive to Madurai and stop at few places to address meetings as per his schedule and his day will culminate in a rally in the temple town.

10:00am: Haasan’s entry into politics coincided with that of fellow Tamil actor and friend Rajinikanth, giving rise to speculation over whether they would join forces. But Haasan seemed to effectively rule out a tie-up with Rajinikanth last week, saying that the latter has a “hue of saffron” in his politics

9:45am: “Previous governments made promises to fishermen but did not live up to them. They divert the issue when confronted,” Haasan says.

9:30am:

8:50am: “Greatness can come from the simplest of houses and this is one of them. I am touched,” says Kamal Haasan after visiting APJ Abdul Kalam’s house and meeting his brother and sister-in-law in Rameswaram.

8:39am: Delhi chief minister and AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal is scheduled to attend the launch event.

8:35am: The actor slightly tweaked his schedule for the day, cancelling his visit to a school where Kalam studied, after the local administration reportedly denied him permission to visit it.

8:30am: Kamal Haasan visits APJ Abdul Kalam’s house in Rameswaram, interacts with his family members.

*The 63-year-old veteran actor has been in the news for months due to speculation over his entry into politics.

*While Haasan had confirmed the news in November last year, political watchers keenly followed his meetings with other politicians to see if he would form an alliance.

*This Tuesday, the actor-turned-politician reiterated his opposition to the party, telling media persons, “I am entering politics only because the ruling AIADMK party is bad, that is why I am not meeting any of them.”

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Feb 21, 2018 08:43 IST